Friday, February 25, 2011

KOCH Whores.

KOCH Whores: (noun) Public servants and media figures who insist on increasing the gap between rich and poor in America, generally by increasing tax cuts to the detriment of local, state, and federal governments.

Koch Whore
Posted by Murphy On February - 23 - 2011

http://www.buffalobeast.com/?p=5045


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker answers his master’s call

“David Koch”: We’ll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that—because we thought about that…


Feel free to list your favorites here.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Remembering Reagan



Remembering Reagan...


[h/t to Doug, at Eschaton...]

"Meet RINO Reagan:

This weekend, Republicans marked the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan with speeches celebrating his small government philosophy, anti-tax fervor and hard-line foreign policy. But if Reagan was a GOP candidate today, he would doubtless fall victim to violations of his own 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Because despite all of the right-wing hagiography, Ronald Reagan ballooned the national debt, repeatedly raised taxes, signed abortion rights legislation and negotiated with terrorists in Iran. For those and so many other perceived offenses, the GOP rank and file - and especially its purity-demanding Tea Partiers - would today brand a reanimated Ronald Reagan a Republican in Name Only..."

http://crooksandliars.com/jon-perr/meet-rino-reagan

~~~

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm a fighting liberal - Steve Gilliard

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I'm a fighting liberal

You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.

The Founding Fathers, as flawed as they were, slaveowners and pornographers, smugglers and terrorists, understood one thing, a man's path to God needed no help from the state. Is the religion of these conservatives so fragile that they need the state to prop it up, to tell us how to pray and think? Is that what they stand for? Is that their America?

Conservatism plays on fear and thrives on lies and dishonesty. I grew up with honest, decent conservatives and those people have been replaced by the party of greed. It is one thing to want less government interference and smaller, fiscally responsible government. It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest. They are building an America which cannot be sustained. One based on the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. The indifferent boss who hires too few people and works them to death or until they break down sick. Cheap labor capitalism has replaced common sense. "Globalism" which is really guise for exploitation, replaced fair trade, which is nothing like fair for the trapped semi-slaves of the maquliadoras. In the Texas border towns, hundreds of these women have been used as sex slaves and then apparently killed,the FBI powerless to do anything as the criminals sit in Mexico untouched by law.

For the better part of a decade, the conservatives made liberal a dirty word. Well, it isn't. It represents the best and most noble nature of what America stands for: equitable government services, old age pensions, health care, education, fair trials and humane imprisonment. It is the heart and soul of what made American different and better than other countries. Not only an escape from oppression, but the opportunity to thrive in land free of tradition and the repression that can bring. We offered a democracy which didn't enshrine the rich and made them feel they had an obligation to their workers.

Bush and the people around him disdain that. They think, by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer.

Liberal does not and has not meant weak until the conservatives said it did. Was Martin Luther King weak? Bobby Kennedy? Gene McCarthy? It was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who wanted to hold on to the old ways.

It's time to regain the spirit of FDR and Truman and the people around them. People who believed in the public good over private gain. It is time to stop apologizing for being a liberal and be proud to fight for your beliefs. No more shying away or being defined by other people. Liberals believe in a strong defense and punishment for crime. But not preemption and pointless jail sentences. We believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.

It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.

Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi satellite state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.

It is time to stop looking for an accommodation with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?

http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2003/12/im-fighting-liberal-you-know-ive.html

Still missing you, Steve.
~~~

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Craig Ferguson explains "Doctor Who"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

il Prete Rosso

Just rediscovered this - my favorite since I was 18:

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 3 No. 6 (RV 356)

Antonio Vivaldi

From L'Estro Armonico ('Harmonic Inspiration', a set of 12 concerti published by Vivaldi as his Opus 3.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SIqYp6Ehzo

Interesting thought - since this was first published in 1711, it may well have been first performed by an all-female ensemble!:

"Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for poor and illegitimate children where Vivaldi worked between 1703 and 1740."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Vivaldi
~~~

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why BLACKS should ALWAYS VOTE:

By the end of Reconstruction in 1877, with fraud, intimidation and violence at the polls, white Democrats regained nearly total control of the state legislatures across the South. They passed laws to make voter registration more complicated, reducing black voters on the rolls. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from 1890 to 1908, ten of eleven Southern legislatures ratified new constitutions and amendments to effectively disfranchise most African Americans and many poor whites through devices such as poll taxes, property and residency requirements, and literacy tests. Although required of all voters, some provisions were selectively applied against African Americans. In addition, many states passed grandfather clauses to exempt white illiterates from literacy tests for a limited period. The result was that black voters were stripped from registration rolls and without political recourse. Since they could not vote, they could not serve on juries. They were without official political voice.

The ideology behind lynching, directly connected with denial of political and social equality, was stated forthrightly by Benjamin Tillman, governor of South Carolina and later a United States Senator:

"We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching#United_States

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_States

[Most of these are horrible. You are warned.]

http://www.google.com/images?q=lynching


I WISH some fool would tell me that they aren't voting.
~

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

It Gets Better

It Gets Better, beloveds. No matter how much it hurts now, yes, it gets better. You find someone to love, you find someone who loves you, you learn to love yourself - it gets better.

Give the world another chance, and find someone to talk to about your pain.

http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject

Tim Gunn's moving message to gay teens:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GGAgtq_rQc&hd=1

From chicago dyke's blog at CorrenteWire.com - It Gets Better: Man in a Uniform Ed.
~

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Wanda Sykes & Her Wife Alex: Creative Emmys Date Night

Wanda Sykes & Her Wife Alex: Creative Emmys Date Night (PHOTOS)

Wanda Sykes stepped out with her wife, Alex, at the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday in LA. Alex gave birth to the couple's twins last summer.

Wanda is nominated for two Emmys for her HBO stand up 'I'ma Be Me.' Her late-night talk show on FOX, 'The Wanda Sykes Show,' was canceled in May after one season. The same month, CBS canceled 'The New Adventures of Old Christine,' in which Wanda played Julia Louis-Dreyfus' best friend.

Wanda Sykes & Her Wife Alex: Wanda Sykes & Her Wife Alex Date Night

Hey, Wanda - nice pull. Respect. [fistbump]
~

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Men With Style: Alan Cumming at Creative Emmy Awards 2010

So, no sooner than I create a feature called "Men With Style", than the Fug Girls run this awesome picture of Alan Cumming at the Creative Emmys:

Alan Cumming, Creative Emmy Awards 2010, plaid suit, Men With Style

This is probably in the running for the Most Awesome Suit of 2010, with the exception of the gentleman when I met at Costco last week, who was resplendent in a beautiful and classic seersucker suit, perhaps the only sane thing that can be worn in a Houston summer.



Seersucker at Wikipedia

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Men With Style: Steve McGarrett

Help me out here.

So here's Grace Park and some other dudes in the new Hawaii 5-0:

Grace Park, Grace Park in a bikini, Steve McGarrett, Hawaii 5-0

Does she really expect them to ignore that she's pretty much naked? [Not that this is a bad thing - I approve]

Do they really expect us to not notice that these dudes are trying hard [heh] to not notice that she is pretty much naked?

And, by the way, Grace Park in a bikini.

Prediction - the new Hawaii 5-0 will FAIL because the new McGarrett is a slob. Jack Lord, as Steve McGarrett, was never, ever a slob:

Steve McGarrett, Jack Lord, Hawaii 5-0, Men with Style

Never:

Steve McGarrett, Jack Lord, Hawaii 5-0, Men with Style
~

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crushes: Bernadette Peters

This woman:

Bernadette Peters New York Times Sondheim

...is 62 years old and I adore her So. Much.

I could actually go on and on about Ms. Peters and her singular contributions to musical theater, or that she was so awesome that Spielberg designed the role of Rita in Animaniacs just for her to sing on the show. Or the time that I glimpsed her from a distance just shopping in Greenwich Village.

But really, I just think that she is really, seriously cute, and I am so happy to see her newest Broadway appearance be the triumph that it is.

And she is hot.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/theater/16peters.html
~

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Peter Fernandez, 1927-2010

Topless Robot - Peter Fernandez, 1927-2010:

I have never heard of Mr. Fernandez before today. However,

He will be best remembered as the director, writer and voice of Speed Racer, as well as the composer of its American theme song.

Clearly, he is my hero, and I mourn his passing. There are some great memorials of him at the link. Job well done, sir - a job well done, indeed.


~

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Doesn't Suck

Health Plans Must Provide Some Tests at No Cost :

WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday issued new rules requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for dozens of screenings, laboratory tests and other types of preventive care.

The new requirements promise significant benefits for consumers — if they take advantage of the services that should now be more readily available and affordable.

In general, the government said, Americans use preventive services at about half the rate recommended by doctors and public health experts.

The rules will eliminate co-payments, deductibles and other charges for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests; many cancer screenings; routine vaccinations; prenatal care; and regular wellness visits for infants and children.

Other services that must be offered at no charge include counseling to help people stop smoking; screening and counseling for obesity; and tests for infection with the virus that causes AIDS.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/health/policy/15health.html

One very, very damned good reason why having Democrats in the White House doesn't suck.
~

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Ten Hottest Celebrity Women in their 40s | Pajiba - Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Cash From Chaos

http://meander61.blogspot.com/2010/04/malcolm-mclaren-dies.html

Missed this a couple of weeks back:

Anarchy rules as Malcolm McLaren funeral draws punk glitterati:

...Joseph Corré, McLaren's son with Westwood, read out a note from Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who addressed his old adversary directly.

"Dear Malcolm, did you take the money with you? Is it in the coffin? Do you mind if I come back tomorrow and dig you up?" he wrote. "I always had a soft spot for you. You showed me a lot when I was 17 … and I owe you a lot for showing me a different side to life."

.....
Malcolm McLaren's coffin is carried into church at his funeral in north London.

Well-wishers pay their respects as the horse-drawn funeral cortege for Malcolm McLaren passes through Camden.

Adam Ant, who said McLaren was like a father to him, arrives at the funeral.

I don't know if Annabella attended.
~

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Another Saturday Night

Went out on Saturday to our local concert pub. That's what it's called - The Concert Pub.

Cover band in residence - Judith Priest. With a female lead singing (and dressing like) Rob Halford. Awesome Sets. Why they stuck "Another Think Coming" in the middle instead of closing with it is beyond me, though.

I love living in the 21st century. It's like Futurama.
~

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Malcolm McLaren dies

Malcolm McLaren dies aged 64 - News, People - The Independent

Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of the Sex Pistols and impresario, has died. He was 64.
...

McLaren was best known as the manager of the iconic punk band The Sex Pistols. He achieved the notoriety that never left him when The Sex Pistols’ anti-establishment single God Save The Queen stole the number one spot during the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977.

I think this means that I am now officially OLD.

Bow Wow Wow
Adam and the Ants
The Sex Pistols

Created them, and screwed them, and screwed them all over, rock'n'roll style.

His funeral will be an event.

RIP, you sonovabitch. What I wouldn't have given to have lived the life you did.
~

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

iPad Alternatives

Over at Open Salon a commenter, mad_typist, wrote:

"I'm hoping someone will make a tablet that lets me use a stylus with it. That opens up several possibilities: doing free hand sketches, hand writing notes on everything from Word documents to e-books, and even marking up maps or other graphics."

I mentioned an excellent alternative to the iPad back when it was announced:

Here, Decisions, Decisions and here, Decisions, Decisions.

The enTourage eDGe™, which runs Android, features TWO screens - one LCD and one e-paper, USB, SD slots, wi-fi and stylus input. At $499, it is the same price as the iPad 8GB.

AND IT IS SHIPPING NOW.

Not some mythical vaporware "someday". No, it does not have 3G but I think that 3G is straight-up Amazon.com marketing anyway. I have LOTS of PDF textbooks and this weighs less and gives me more features than any of them.

Buy me one and I'll write you a review. ;-)

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

States Fighting Health-Care Act Don't Have Precedent On Their Side | Crooks and Liars

I do believe that the phrase "hoist on their own petard" comes to mind here:

States Fighting Health-Care Act Don't Have Precedent On Their Side | Crooks and Liars:

Reporting from Washington - Lawsuits from 14 states challenging the constitutionality of the new national healthcare law face an uphill battle, largely due to a far-reaching Supreme Court ruling in 2005 that upheld federal restrictions on home-grown marijuana in California.

But this week, Obama administration lawyers pointed to Scalia's opinion as supporting the constitutionality of broad federal regulation of health insurance, and most legal experts agreed.


I hate the individual mandate without a public option and I want to do everything possible to fix that, but pissing off Republicans just makes me smile. The fact that it's Scalia opinion that burning them on this, is just a gift. Hee.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An open letter to conservatives | AmericanDad's Blog

AmericanDad at TPM offers this INCREDIBLE list of Republican crimes and offenses against decency, logic, and citizenship:

An open letter to conservatives | AmericanDad's Blog: "Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum has become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you're going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you'll have to start by draining this swamp:"

It's long, but go read it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

McCain, AGAIN

Just a letter I wrote today.

TO : mtp@msnbc.com

I just wanted to express just how incredibly embarrassing and disappointing I found the "news" that Meet The Press decided to devote its entire next episode to interviewing Senator McCain again.

It is apparent to the American people that not only are the Republicans devoid of ideas, they are actively hostile to working with the President on the challenges before us now. Senator McCain has proved himself to be repeatedly at the forefront of the G.O.P. fight to oppose everything that needs to be done now.

Like Senator Bunning's disgraceful performance yesterday in denying a vote to extend unemployment benefits to millions of hurting Americans who need assistance now, Senator McCain has repeatedly refused to work with the Senate majority on any of the critical projects before the country now, and devoting yet another hour to him and his, quite frankly, repellent views will continue to hurt the country and its people. Meet The Press should have its focus on newsmakers who are producing useful and necessary legislation and are actively fighting FOR the American people, and not for their selfish and partisan views.

As the President reminded Senator McCain yesterday, "we are no longer campaigning". Meet The Press should not be giving him free campaign ad space. Let him pay for his own.
~

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Kathryn Grayson

Oh. sad news.

Kathryn Grayson

Kathryn Grayson, Operatic Film Star, Dies at 88 :

By ANITA GATES
Published: February 18, 2010

Kathryn Grayson, the petite singer and actress whose operatic voice and campus-sweetheart beauty embodied the glamour of Hollywood movie musicals in the 1940s and ’50s, died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 88.

Ms. Grayson, a coloratura soprano, was best known for three film roles: the movie hopeful who attracts the attentions of two sailors (Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra) on shore leave in Hollywood in “Anchors Aweigh” (1945); Magnolia Hawks, the captain’s innocent daughter, who falls for the handsome gambler Gaylord Ravenal (Howard Keel), in the Technicolor remake of “Show Boat” (1951); and the sophisticated, comically shrewish actress starring in a Shakespearean musical with her ex-husband (Mr. Keel again) in “Kiss Me Kate” (1953), Hollywood’s adaptation of the Broadway hit...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/movies/19grayson.html


I had SUCH a crush on her in my teens - certainly more than 30 years after she made the movies that I was watching on TV in the 70s.



Be sure to listen to her very last note.
~

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hopium

h/t euphronius, rob mule

In spite of the past year, I'm still fine with "Hope" and "Change" being important parts of a Democratic candidate's operating rhetoric.

After the better part of a decade being beaten down by Thugs and their masters, it was important and necessary to inspire voters. The fact that a Dem could win with a mandate and still act like there was a narrow, or even an illegitimate victory, just bugs.
~

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Valentine’s Day


Jessica Biel and Jennifer Garner in "Valentine's Day"(2010)


“Valentine’s Day” surprisingly did not suck. It was a very lightweight romantic comedy, but they were very careful to make sure that there were no major characters that did NOT deserve a decent ending. The large cast and multiple storyline meant that there was very little padding in the individual stories and performances, and given their fluffy nature, they didn’t need extra time.

There were even a few surprises at the end for the audience that went very well. Two of them involved Julia Roberts, by the way – one of those is in the end credits.

Oh, and somebody needs to get on that Jessica Biel / Jennifer Garner action movie RIGHT NOW, they both looked fantastic.

Having lived there for a while, I thought that spending a day in Los Angeles was going to be a proper drag, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I find myself sort of defending this movie - not for itself but just against a sort of kneejerk response to basic genre movies, where they get saddled with far more weight and responsibility than this kind of project really needs. We need more, not less, simple genre projects like romcoms, and action and Westerns and sci-fi that make going to the movies easier, and more fun.

One reviewer that I read actually mentioned Un Chien Andalou in relation to this movie! Now, if you are seriously referring to Un Chien Andalou a) in relation to fraking Valentine's Day and/or b) even as an example of a Good Movie (feh), you need to have your head examined.

Roger Ebert said it best:

"Moviegoers who knowingly buy a ticket for "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" are going to get exactly what they expect: There is a mummy, a tomb, a dragon and an emperor. And the movie about them is all that it could be. If you think "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" sounds like a waste of time, don't waste yours."


This movie is called "Valentine's Day". Some people need to go watch something else.

I've written versions of this in so many places I figured I'd better post it here.
~

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Celebrating Curves

Celebrating Curves, curves, curvy, fashion, fashion shows, fierce, Models, plus-size, plus-size models, runway

Our fellow commenter at Eschaton brings this to our attention:

Moonbootica, ODST : this blog celebrates curves...

ANOTHER DOSE OF FIERCE: ON THE RUNWAY...

"As the kickoff to New York Fashion Week gets closer and my anticipation builds, I figured for this week’s ‘Dose of Fierce’ I’d post images of plus models working it on the runway! There are images from Elena Miro, Monif C, City Chic, Qristyl Frazier and more! Also there are a few videos from City Chic and Elena Miro’s runway shows. Enjoy!"


Celebrating Curves, curves, curvy, fashion, fashion shows, fierce, Models, plus-size, plus-size models, runway

Celebrating Curves, curves, curvy, fashion, fashion shows, fierce, Models, plus-size, plus-size models, runway

It sure the hell does. Damn.

Wow.

Damn.

Go there for the extra goodness. Fabulous.
~

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Facepalm

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”




Goldman: We Won't Slash Pay for '10

Perhaps it is possible to be MORE disgusted. I cannot imagine how.


Here's much more important news:

Comic book fans, of course, are big on first appearances, and the wealthier ones may be excited to own a copy of Detective Comics No. 27. That 1939 issue marks the first appearance of Batman and will be up for bid at Heritage Auctions from Feb. 25-27. According to the Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, a near-mint-condition copy of this comic is worth $450,000. The very fine copy up for grabs at Heritage is expected to surpass $300,000.


Most expensive comic ever?
~

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Monday, February 01, 2010

2010 Grammy Awards - Pink Live Performance

The Grammy Awards show literally ended here. Just an incredible, sexy, beautiful, perfect performance:


Pink Performs at 2010 Grammys Slow Roasted
Pink Performs at 2010 Grammys.


Pink Performs at 2010 Grammys Slow Roasted
Pink Performs at 2010 Grammys.


Pink Performs at 2010 Grammys Slow Roasted
Pink Performs at 2010 Grammys.



Taylor who?

(Repost: YouTube had to kill the vid.)

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Decisions, decisions

Until Apple announced the iPad,

I was looking at the enTourage eDGe™:

http://www.entourageedge.com/ enTourage eDGe™


and the Kindle DX:

Kindle DX


and the Sony Reader Daily Edition:

Sony Reader Daily Edition


I need something to read the PDF textbooks that I get in my classes, so I need the larger format screen.

Similar price point and interesting features, but I'm still drawn to the flexibility, if not the weight of the eDGe.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore

Knut Haugland, Sailor on Kon-Tiki, Dies at 92 :


"...By the time Mr. Haugland met Thor Heyerdahl, the future leader of the Kon-Tiki expedition, in a British paramilitary training camp during the war, he had already experienced enough danger to last a lifetime. A 101-day voyage from Peru to Polynesia on the open ocean aboard a balsa raft would have been the ultimate test of courage and endurance for most men, but for Mr. Haugland it was more like an adventure vacation.

As a radio engineer, Mr. Haugland had fought the invading Nazis at the battle of Narvik in 1940 and then, while pretending to be a typical worker at an Oslo radio factory, took a leading role in the anti-Nazi resistance, training radio operators and setting up secret transmitters.

Twice he was captured and escaped, once by back-flipping over a snow bank and running off into the woods before his guards could use their weapons. A third time, surrounded by the Gestapo at a maternity hospital in Oslo where he had set up a transmitter in a chimney, he shot his way to freedom with a pistol."

THEN he went a-sailing with a guy named Thor. One bad dude.
~

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cannonball Read 2.02: The Forever War - Joe Haldeman (1974)

Cannonball Read,Pajiba,Forever War,Joe Haldeman,Science fiction,Military

Flailing about, searching for some thing to read, I came across this file, and it occurred to me that this was good a time to revisit this book as any.

Haldeman is a vocal devotee of Robert Heinlein, and in The Forever War, he creates a thematic counterpart to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, including all of the hardware, technology, and tactics that makes Troopers a primer in military science-fiction.

Haldeman overlays all of the clanking can banging about by centering his story of war over centuries (due to relativistic effects) around a reluctant and melancholy draftee, William Mandella.

Let me be honest for a moment here. In spite of my military background (2 yrs in the Navy, and my dad and brother have both served), I really have very little interest in military stories, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of much of them beyond the experience of constantly waiting in line.

In The Forever War, Earth finds its way into a series of conflicts with a mysterious alien enemy that are so far away, that relativistic effects means that a group of soldiers will be gone for years, if not decades, and finally centuries. We follow Mandella as he travels from battle to battle, planet to planet and decade after decade, as he gets further away from the year of his birth, the world and society of his birth, and finally, from humanity itself.

Haldeman notes himself, in the forward, that he wrote the story in reaction to, and reflecting the Vietnam War, and we can certainly see that in the alienation that Mandella feels each time that he returns from battle. The Forever War, however, is not just a bleak look at war and warfare. Haldeman definitely enjoys his battlesuits and massive explosions; he is simply disappointed as we are that they don’t always work out as well as he hopes they will.

According to Haldeman, even Heinlein himself complimented this story, and I will not contradict the Master on this. Reading The Forever War is basic to our understanding of war and fighters in modern science fiction.

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman (1974)

Pajiba's Cannonball Read - 52 books, 52 reviews.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Cannonball Read 2.0_01: Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green

Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green. (New York, Ace 2003), ISBN 0-441-01065-2

I've only spent weeks mentally preparing myself for the Cannonball Read, only of find myself in the first week, completely stymied by a book that simply wasn't very interesting.

I am a big fan and constant consumer of most of the early entries into the "urban fantasy" genre. I specify "early entries" because you will not find a lot of copycats on the supermarket and rug store racks, and most of them aren't much good. All of the vampires and werewolves have been taken.

"Something from the Nightside" starts off with such a derivative steal from Hammett and Sam Spade that I very nearly dropped it and took up something else. Naturally it starts off in a seedy detective's office, where he also lives, and naturally, a dame walks in and the case begins.

The PI in our case, Taylor, promises something different but it is quite a while before we get there. Instead of Chandler's "mean streets", however, we are given "the Nightside", and alternate reality in the middle of London where it is always 3am and raining, and where every single interdimensional and magical beastie can make their home in an urban setting. Taylor, himself, plays like a Harry Potter gone to seed.

It is fun to watch Taylor, in his white trenchcoat, make his way through this twisted landscape, which resembles nothing so much as a low-down version of Rowling's "Diagon Alley", and encounter everything from time travel through alternate realities, and Lovecraftian beasts-from-beyond, and everyone and everything has good reason to want you dead.

It is obvious that "Something from the Nightside" is intended as the opening of the series, and luckily I was fascinated enough by the Nightside to want to explore future stories, but there is not much besides knowing that to take you through to the next book. There are ten books in the Nightside series, however, so I'm sure that I will look into more of them.

Pajiba's Cannonball Read - 52 books, 52 reviews.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO - President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.


Attaturk: "I guess Krauthammer was right, the international regard for the United States has so fallen after Obama became President that they just awarded our Chief Executive the Nobel Peace Prize."

Oliver Willis: "Congrats to the President for this honor, another turn of the page from the failed warmongering failure of the last 8 years of U.S. foreign policy."

I may criticize the man (from the left) for his centrist tendencies, but only in the fever dream of deranged righ-winger has he failed to complete represent the dreams and hopes of the American people. A proud accomplishment.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Brooklyn Tech Students Turn Out — And Westboro Leaves

Students Turn Out — And Westboro Leaves :

As school let out this afternoon, picketers from Westboro Baptist Church, a scabrously anti-gay group from Topeka, gathered outside Brooklyn Tech to spread the gospel found on their site godhatesfags.com and, according to their schedule (since updated), to “teach the rebels of Brooklyn what good looks like, and you had better behave.”

But outnumbered by nearly 200 Tech students, the Westboro protesters, escorted by police officers, left the corner of Fort Greene Place and Fulton Street at 3:45, 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. (The protest had been slated for 3:20 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

Oh, think you're going to mess with Brooklyn Tech? Oh, thou sad deluded fools.

Oh, and this?

Brooklyn Tech Students Turn Out — And Westboro Leaves

Is awesome!
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